Garda Commissioner ‘withholding documents’ on raider’s death

Inquest into death of man shot dead by gardaí in Lucan five years ago resumes

The way was cleared in May 2013 for the inquest into Gareth Molloy’s death to go ahead at Dublin Coroner’s Court. File Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

The way was cleared in May 2013 for the inquest into Gareth Molloy’s death to go ahead at Dublin Coroner’s Court. File Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

The Garda Commissioner is withholding documents from the inquest into the death of armed raider Gareth Molloy, the Dublin coroner has heard.

Molloy (27) of Lower Sheriff Street in Dublin’s north inner city died after he was shot by a member of the Garda Emergency Response Unit during a raid by a gang on a security van delivering cash to a supermarket.

The gang were interrupted as they attempted the raid at the Centra supermarket on Foxborough Road in Lucan on May 15th, 2009. They were holding a sawn-off shotgun at a cash van worker’s head and demanding cash when gardaí­, who had them under surveillance, confronted them. Molloy fired a shot into the air at which point armed gardaí ­ moved in. When he failed to drop his weapon, gardaí­ opened fire and he was fatally wounded.

The documents being withheld are believed to relate to the planning of the Garda operation.

The way was cleared in May 2013 for the inquest into Molloy’s death to go ahead at Dublin Coroner’s Court after the DPP indicated there would be no prosecutions arising from the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission’s (GSOC) report into the incident.

Since then, both the Garda­ and GSOC have engaged in a lengthy process of reviewing and redacting documentation submitted to coroner Dr Brian Farrell. Both are expected to assert State and public interest immunity privilege over some of the documents submitted.

At a mention of the inquest, counsel for the family Seán Guerin SC said the Garda Commissioner has made submissions with a view to restricting the scope of the inquest because prosecutions have already been pursued and GSOC investigated the incident.

However, he pointed out that GSOC believes their investigation was “conducted unsatisfactorily” because they were “denied access” to documentation.

According to a leak of the report to a Sunday newspaper last year, GSOC found its investigation was incomplete as a result of Garda management’s repeated refusal to provide information on the background of the shooting.

When asked if all the documentation would be scheduled for consideration by the inquest, Paul Greene SC, for the Garda Commissioner, said no. “There are items that are not scheduled and will not be scheduled,” he said.

Counsel for GSOC Roisin Lacey JC confirmed they do not have the documents and they are also “exercised” by the failure to provide details of them.

Mr Guerin told the coroner it is “impossible” to argue about what documents should be disclosed to the inquest without knowing what they are.

“What Mr Greene is saying is that they are scheduling, claiming privilege over and redacting a selection of the documents that they are making themselves… There are documents in their schedule which they say are irrelevant, there are documents they say may be relevant but are privileged and there is a whole category of documentation which they are not even disclosing the existence of to you as part of this process. That makes no sense,” he said.

Mr Guerin said it is “incomprehensible” that it has taken two years to get the documents ready and warned that the Molloy family may lose confidence in the process.

The inquest was adjourned for further mention on February 27th.